After finishing 12-19 last season, the ‘Canes are looking for a new beginning with the Orange and Green Challenge. The Hurricanes began with a loss to Hofstra, 3-2 but rebounded by knocking off Jacksonville, 3-1, and Butler 3-1.
It was no surprise that the first two points scored by the ‘Canes against Hofstra came from preseason All-ACC player senior Ciara Michel. At the beginning of game one, the ‘Canes had jitters that led to six errors in the opening minutes. The errors set the tone for a game loss 30-26.
Following the entrance of senior Michelle Bruin in game two, the ‘Canes came alive. Miami began a run that the Pride couldn’t recoup and Miami to finished 30-24.
The Hurricanes continued their success in game three, defeating Hofstra 30-21.
The ‘Canes had nine errors in game four that allowed Hofstra to tie the series before winning game five to take the match.
Michel finished with 16 kills and six total blocks. Genny Mayhew achieved a career-high with 19 kills. Cassie Loessberg finished with a team-high 22 digs and her hustle is well deserved. Freshman Katie Gallagher finished with 53 assists and 16 digs in her first college game.
“It was very exciting,” Gallagher said. “Of course I was nervous at the beginning of the game but as the game went on I just played my game.”
The following day, the Hurricanes took on Jacksonville. The ‘Canes looked past their prior disappointment and crushed Jacksonville in games one and two (30-14, 30-24).
Jacksonville came back in game three, but could not clench a second victory and gave up the match to Miami. Loessberg sealed the match with a serving ace to give the Hurricanes their first win this season.
Both Maria Andersson and Mayhew finished the match with 13 kills. Michel ended the match with 12 kills and four total blocks. Junior Bridget Bomhack lead the team with 21 digs. Gallagher finished with a triple double with 40 assist, 19 digs and 11 serving aces.
On Saturday evening, the ‘Canes took on Butler in the final match of the Orange and Green Challange. The Canes stepped up their defense, which enabled them to take game one, 30-21.
Ten errors in game two forced Miami to a loss. The Hurricanes returned with great intensity beating Butler in games three and four (30-28, 30-23).
Michel finished the game with 11 kills and eight blocks. Andersson lead the team with 14 kills and Gallagher had 51 assists.
“I’m impressed with everybody’s play,” Michel said. “I think as a whole our team is coming along really well. We worked really hard in the preseason. It’s really showing on the court. ”
The defense set a school record of 90 digs.
“We have been stressing a lot of work on defense all preseason,” Lantagne Welch said.
Lantagne Welch is confident the Hurricanes’ success will continue this season through teamwork and dedication.
“This is team is extremely close,” Lantagne Welch said. “That’s one of the strengths of [our team]. They bonded really well. They work very well together.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.